Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Gary Childress
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Gary Childress »

Nick_A wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:19 pm
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm
Nick_A wrote: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:38 am As is obvious, America is moving more and more toward collectivism. All we read of are collectives. Is this desirable? Perhaps we can discuss the essential differences and potentials for both individualism and collectivism when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness become our desired goal..
I think both concepts of human beings have their pros and cons. One advantage of identifying with a group of people is in taking collective action on things that individuals alone would not be capable of changing. Sometimes that's good, as with the Civil Rights movement and sometimes it can be mob mentality that is irrational.

It's also good to stand as an individual and make your own personal life the best it can be and take individual accountability for ourselves, but sometimes individuals can have irrational wants too, such as with excessive greed, where one becomes so absorbed in personal gain that s/he loses sight of longer-term consequences to the community at large.

As far as being the case that "all we read of are collectives" I don't know if that's true or not. I think there's plenty of individualism out there too. But I do think "collective" has gained more traction as a potentially good word these days than it did during the Cold War. But maybe that's not such a bad thing in moderation, as long as we don't go the route of the former Soviet Union.
Gary, you seem to be describing individualism and collectivism by the same secular standards. individualism is just unpopular collectivism which easily changes. Yet they are different. Where collectivism is horizontal as are the many forms of the great beast, individualism is vertical and not dependent upon secular definitions. to satisfy the human need for meaning.
I'm not sure what you mean, especially with terms like "the great beast".
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm
Nick_A wrote: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:38 am As is obvious, America is moving more and more toward collectivism. All we read of are collectives. Is this desirable? Perhaps we can discuss the essential differences and potentials for both individualism and collectivism when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness become our desired goal..
I think both concepts of human beings have their pros and cons. One advantage of identifying with a group of people is in taking collective action on things that individuals alone would not be capable of changing. Sometimes that's good, as with the Civil Rights movement and sometimes it can be mob mentality that is irrational.
Quite fair, Gary.

Of course, the tipping point in Collectivism comes when the collective doesn't want the individual to exercise his personal judgment, and instead wants to control the information and manipulate the narrative in the interests of it's own ideology or its own perpetuation in power. Collectives tend to see unconforming individuals as a problem. Then they tend to ostracize and abuse the individual for holding the "wrong" opinion, and then, when individuals still won't conform, they bully, indoctrinate, character assassinate or even execute those individuals.
It's also good to stand as an individual and make your own personal life the best it can be and take individual accountability for ourselves, but sometimes individuals can have irrational wants too, such as with excessive greed, where one becomes so absorbed in personal gain that s/he loses sight of longer-term consequences to the community at large.
This is true. Individualism can cause problems for the community.

But a community is different from a collective. A community is comprised of individuals with diverse perspectives, values, ethnicities, etc. A collective is an attempt to unify that community through ideological possession...to "collect" the diverse into one, and to mobilize them as a mob, to serve some particular ideological agenda.

A community appeals to the conscience of the individual, and ceases to go beyond that level of influence. A collective goes around the conscience, undermines the individual will, or subverts personal judgment, in order to create uniformity and compliance.
But I do think "collective" has gained more traction as a potentially good word these days than it did during the Cold War.

I hope not. That's the road to pogroms, purges, re-education camps, economic suicide, etc. The Cold War should have taught us that much.

Community, on the other hand, would be a good thing -- hard to negotiate, admittedly, since we live under conditions of incommensurable moral, ethnic and ideological pluralism, but certainly worth pursuing so far as we can.
TheVisionofEr
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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On the other side there is a solipsistic existence which doesn't regard itself as superior to the other individuals and doesn't suffer from the isolation of the individual consciousness. There is collectivist existence which has no pride or claim to be ahead of the others, since it is for the others, but there is also an animal or god existence. The god existence may not be solipsistic in the sense that it only doesn't invest emotion in the comparison of itself with the humans, but does admit a kind of independent existence to the earth and all animals without caring to contest them other than instrumentally with respect to the use of space or place.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

Ic explains well why the christian must be hated by collectives which believes it must be a collective, The collective is a a creature of reaction governed by forces it cannot understand, This is what is so difficult to appreciate about Christianity. A person either feels the verticlity of what it offers or must follow the .laws of the pendulum

The pendulum argrues its conception of right and wrong while the Christian knows the source of right and wrong lies in the direction of it origin. Obviously only a few are willing to sacrifice arguing long enough to look up. Such person can be all things to all people and it is obvious how rare they are.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:34 pm
Nick_A wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:19 pm
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm

I think both concepts of human beings have their pros and cons. One advantage of identifying with a group of people is in taking collective action on things that individuals alone would not be capable of changing. Sometimes that's good, as with the Civil Rights movement and sometimes it can be mob mentality that is irrational.

It's also good to stand as an individual and make your own personal life the best it can be and take individual accountability for ourselves, but sometimes individuals can have irrational wants too, such as with excessive greed, where one becomes so absorbed in personal gain that s/he loses sight of longer-term consequences to the community at large.

As far as being the case that "all we read of are collectives" I don't know if that's true or not. I think there's plenty of individualism out there too. But I do think "collective" has gained more traction as a potentially good word these days than it did during the Cold War. But maybe that's not such a bad thing in moderation, as long as we don't go the route of the former Soviet Union.
Gary, you seem to be describing individualism and collectivism by the same secular standards. individualism is just unpopular collectivism which easily changes. Yet they are different. Where collectivism is horizontal as are the many forms of the great beast, individualism is vertical and not dependent upon secular definitions. to satisfy the human need for meaning.
I'm not sure what you mean, especially with terms like "the great beast".
You won't find the great beast used in college since it is seen as insulting. But Plato has seen deeper and explains it rather well
Simone Weil gets the term "Great Beast" from Plato. Specifically, this passage from Book VI of his Republic (here Plato critiques those who are "wise" through their study of society):

I might compare them to a man who should study the tempers and desires of a mighty strong beast who is fed by him--he would learn how to approach and handle him, also at what times and from what causes he is dangerous or the reverse, and what is the meaning of his several cries, and by what sounds, when another utters them, he is soothed or infuriated; and you may suppose further, that when, by continually attending upon him, he has become perfect in all this, he calls his knowledge wisdom, and makes of it a system or art, which he proceeds to teach, although he has no real notion of what he means by the principles or passions of which he is speaking, but calls this honourable and that dishonourable, or good or evil, or just or unjust, all in accordance with the tastes and tempers of the great brute. Good he pronounces to be that in which the beast delights and evil to be that which he dislikes...

Society, the "mighty strong beast." There's the obvious power of many hands working together. But Plato points to a deeper, pseudo-moral power of the many, the group. Weil also describes this:

The power of the social element. Agreement between several men brings with it a feeling of reality. It brings with it also a sense of duty. Divergence, where this agreement is concerned, appears as a sin. Hence all returns to the fold are possible. The state of conformity is an imitation of grace.

As you can see, the Great Beast is capable of the most wonderful compassion but than at the next moment to be guilty of the most horrible crimes. Sometimes person can stop long enough to seriously ask what they are doing. Sometimes a person can ask if they doing anything or justying reaction to universal forces. Than they can begin to inwrdly turn to the light and beome capble of conscious individlity rather just creatures of reaction.

A person can get caught up in the need to glorfy the beast but there are those who have seen that "this is not I," What is this which govens my life? This IMO is the beginning of the great struggle between the collective of reacting animal man and conscious humanity.
RWStanding
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RWStanding »

Remarkable that ethics seems to ossified into a binary relationship. The Individual versus Collectivism. It needs to be determined what are the values fundamental to ethics and how they relate to the Individual or Collective. Do we individually have freedom autonomously with only minimal social interaction. Or do we have freedom within society in an interactive way. Or thirdly are we merely servile cogs in a machine as the opposite to freedom. The USA is not what it pretends a land of the individually free, at the very least people there are bound by the interactive morality of their religion-philosophy, apart from what must be a minority of men living in the wilds.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

RWStanding wrote: Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:13 am Or do we have freedom within society in an interactive way.
I think that of the options you offer, this one is closest to what I'd say is true. We do have options, but they also take place within an matrix of "givens," including our physiology, our location, or families, our 'assigned' culture, our accessibility of education, our diets, our incomes...and a host of other things.

Collectivists seem to think the "givens" are determinative of everything. That's why they proclaim that "liberation" can only come though collective social changes, such as seizing control of government, restructuring institutions, changing the collective beliefs, elimination of 'institutional bias,' and other means of mass manipulation. The individual has no power but within that, as they see it.

However, I don't think that case can be sustained. There are too many people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and rise to success, and too many people born into privilege who squander it and end up in misery. Whatever else one can say, it's clear that the collective situation is not absolutely determinative of the individual's lot in life, and also the individual will find himself struggling against the world, no matter what he does, unless he just quits. How fat the individual can take himself is not predetermined; and much of the self-image and achievements of the individual will be produced by his struggles to overcome the world around him, and compensating for some of the givens of his birth.

To do this, he will also require "interaction," as you put it, with others. He will not only need to do so in order to rise to where he may, as they establish the social hierarchies through which he rises, but also he will need friends, associates, family, clan, allies, and yes, even opponents to help him to achieve what he can achieve.

So I think you're right: there's truth in both. But I think that the individual is ordinarily able to move up somewhat through the social hierarchies, if he is clever, diligent, and committed. Very few of us are in a truly hopeless situation, in this regard; at least in the West. So collectives do not ordinarily determine our fate.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Why is the the doctrine of self-knowledge, written over the porch at Delphi, considered essential to education in those days? What does it mean when the collective works so hard at indoctrination. What if we do not have this self but the human essence is a plurality based on our potential higher parts with a universal appreciation connected with our lower animal nature? How do we get to know what we haven’t got when we live with these two parts opposed to each other.. When a person experiences this it opens them to conscious human potential. What does it mean to have a self; a human soul when we live in opposition as a plurality? The collective consists of differing qualites of human beings all experiencing the external world differently but being taught to experience it as a collective

Our lower nature supplies facts while our higher nature has received values from above. The same facts but differing values all being indoctrinated by the powers that be as opposed to remembering our source

The individual beginning to see the human condition in themselves struggles against the domination of their lower nature. They see everyone around them speaking of the past and the future and realize no one refers to now. To know thyself means to know and experience what you are now including our essential hypocrisy. The world struggles against it and it can lead to your death.

Nietzsche spoke of awakening to our condition as awakening to wretched contentment so as to dominate the world through the opinion of ourselves. Jesus spoke of awakening to self knowledge in service to meaning and purpose supplied by our source. Are we “everything” as our ego demands or our we nothing living with imagination with a potential self? What are we now in this instance?

Know Thyself! Two little words with great depth of meaning. But how many can open themselves to what they mean in these times when self deception is made easier? Only the true individuals become capable and they are diminishing in favor of the self glorifiction of collectivism.

A super civilization would be one in which facts and essential values have been united as one under the meaning and purpose of our universe. It is easy to see how far we are from becoming a super civilization. The collective for a super civilization rather than denying individuality seeks to promote it through efforts to know thyself.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

How can I close out this thread without including a typical Simone gem:

“Capitalism has brought about the emancipation of collective humanity with respect to nature. But this collective humanity has itself taken on with respect to the individual the oppressive function formerly exercised by nature.”

"Brevity is the soul of wit." How to put such depth in so few words.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

RC wrote
Individualism is often contrasted with collectivism and those who are opposed to collectivism are often called individualists. This is unfortunate, because the true nature of individual independence is not an, "-ism," not an ideology, and not political. Individual independence is a, "moral," or, "ethical," view of life chosen by those who regard their own life as their ultimate value.

Who Are Independent Individuals?

It is unlikely that you know who independent individuals are. They seldom identify themselves individualists because they never think in terms of belonging to some class or category of human beings; they never refer to themselves as members of some, "WE."

An independent individual is one who is completely confident in his own ability to live his life successfully without anyone else's advice, teaching, direction, support, love, empathy, understanding, agreement, or approval. An independent individual neither desires or seeks anything other than what he can produce or achieve by his own rationally directed productive effort, otherwise known as his work, and is never a threat to any other individual in any way.

An independent individual is only concerned with knowing that whatever he has in this world he has produced or acquired by his own honest effort, that all he enjoys is without guilt or regret because he earned and deserves it, and that whatever he is, it is what he has made of himself and is the best he could possibly have accomplished. He does not care what anyone else thinks or knows about him, only what he knows about himself.

He cannot be satisfied by anything less than the best. It is not the best as defined by society or some ideology or what is popularly believed. It is the best possible for a human being as determined by his nature and the nature of the world in which he lives. Not the best in terms of physical possessions, but the best in terms of his own freedom and personal achievement, physically and mentally.
A very good example of an independent person with unlimited wealth living the independent life assuring his personal freedom
Einstein wrote "A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

"The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self." Einstein
Is the conceptions of our self supreme or something which must be outgrown? RC writes of striving for individuality conditioned from within Plato's Cave and Einstein writes of universal individuality acquired by the mind consciously expanding into a universal perspective


"Forgive them for they know not what they do" then makes lot of sense.

It is safe to conclude that the quality of conscious expansion for the Great Beast or society itself is impossible. The struggles and power of the great Beast in defense of denial is too powerful. The leopard cannot change its spots.

John 17:9
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
The world is the world. A person must decide if they believe they are of the world or feel the attraction to something more than the world offers: the expansion of consciousness Einstein and others have spoken of. It is our choice.
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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:44 pm Individualism can cause problems for the community.
How? If you believe that you don't really know what an independent individual is.
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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Nick_A wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:33 pm RC writes of striving for individuality conditioned from within Plato's Cave ...
It is bit dangerous to pretend to know what is in someone else's mind. You have no idea what I have written means. One does not, "strive for individuality," my friend. Every individual has their own mind and must make their own choices. Individuality is not an option. You are an individual, and you can either embrace the fact of what you are or choose to live in defiance of your nature and suffer the consequences.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

RCSaunders wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:10 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:44 pm Individualism can cause problems for the community.
How? If you believe that you don't really know what an independent individual is.
Well, what Gary wrote, and I was responding to, was this:
It's also good to stand as an individual and make your own personal life the best it can be and take individual accountability for ourselves, but sometimes individuals can have irrational wants too, such as with excessive greed, where one becomes so absorbed in personal gain that s/he loses sight of longer-term consequences to the community at large.
I'll grant Gary that. An "excessively greedy" individual, one "absorbed in personal gain" so as to "lose sight of long term consequences to the community" would be a problem.

I don't think it's a total argument against individualism, but I can grant it, so far as it goes.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

RCSaunders wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:10 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:44 pm Individualism can cause problems for the community.
How? If you believe that you don't really know what an independent individual is.
Of course. That is why Jesus and Socrates had to be killed. When they become influential they are a danger to a community. The hard part is deciding if they represent what keeps Man asleep or if they supply the means to awaken. Sadly those who encourage attachments to the shadows on the wall are far more influential They are your classic demagogues.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders »

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:29 am
RCSaunders wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:10 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:44 pm Individualism can cause problems for the community.
How? If you believe that you don't really know what an independent individual is.
Well, what Gary wrote, and I was responding to, was this:
It's also good to stand as an individual and make your own personal life the best it can be and take individual accountability for ourselves, but sometimes individuals can have irrational wants too, such as with excessive greed, where one becomes so absorbed in personal gain that s/he loses sight of longer-term consequences to the community at large.
I'll grant Gary that. An "excessively greedy" individual, one "absorbed in personal gain" so as to "lose sight of long term consequences to the community" would be a problem.

I don't think it's a total argument against individualism, but I can grant it, so far as it goes.
I suspected that what you (or Gary) are referring to as, "individualism," is not what, "individualism," means to an independent individual. No matter what an independent individual might, "want," or how much, "personal gain," he seeks, nothing he achieves or gains is ever at anyone else's expense. There is no way he can be a danger to any community. In fact, the more the independent individual gains, the more the community profits from the independent individual's actions.
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